Buffalo Bill Blog

Oct
09

Fall Activities in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country

 

river with mountains in background and fall colors

While the government shutdown has closed Yellowstone National Park, Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country and the area east of the park still offer plenty of great fall activities.

Here are some reasons to visit the region:

 ·   Wildlife viewing is near its peak in the Wapiti Valley between Cody and the east gate of Yellowstone. Bears are preparing for winter, and bull elk are emitting a distinctive bugling sound to get the attention of potential mates. There are also good opportunities to see pronghorn, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and eagles.

 ·   The region offers some of the world’s finest trout streams, and Cody has more than its share of expert fishing guides. Multiple fly fishing shops offer maps and advice.

 ·   Restaurants are open, extending a wide range of ethnic foods as well as traditional fare. Two breweries have opened offering local beers, pub foods and full menus.

 ·   The town’s retail shops and art galleries display a large selection of Western paintings, leather work, furniture, sculptures and more.

 ·   Accommodations are easy to secure this time of year, and travelers have a wide array of lodging choices, from independent boutique hotels, luxury hotels, budget friendly accommodations, or bed and breakfasts

 ·   State parks are not affected by federal government closure. You can still camp, fish and hike at the Buffalo Bill State Park just west of Cody.

 ·   Outfitters lead classes and rock-climbing expeditions throughout the Cody region. The region is well-suited to climbing, with porous rock creating drainages and rock formations that appeal to climbers of all abilities. Conditions are typically good for rock climbing through October.

 ·   There are several hunting seasons in the fall – for pronghorn, deer, elk, moose and bighorn sheep. Dates for each season vary, and hunters should check for details and hunting regulations at http://gf.state.wy.us/admin/Regs/.

 ·   A new book, “East of Yellowstone – A Hiker’s Guide to Cody,” features maps, photos and hike specifications such as length, time, difficulty, best season, access and landowner information for 20 regional hikes. The book was authored by JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner and is available at Sunlight Sports, a long-time Sheridan Avenue shop that provides locals and visitors alike with all of their outdoor adventure needs.

 ·   The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center at the site of the Heart Mountain Internment Camp offers a glimpse into the lives of some 14,000 Japanese-American citizens who were interned there during World War II. Opened in August 2011, the center explores that difficult period of the country’s history with thoughtful exhibits that encourage visitors to ask the question “Could this happen today?” The center is open year-round. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for children under the age of 12.

 ·   The storied life of the town’s founder, Colonel William Frederick Cody, is presented in the recently reinstalled Buffalo Bill Museum, one of five museums that comprise the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. There are also museums dedicated to firearms, fine Western Art, the Plains Indians of the region and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

 ·   Tecumseh’s Old West Miniature Village and Museum is a massive diorama that showcases western and Wyoming history and features thousands of American Indian and other historic artifacts. The diorama is free with donations accepted and open year-round. Travelers visiting between November and April should make an appointment first by calling 307-587-5367.

 Until next time, I’m lovin’ life – and the great fall activities – here in Cody, Wyo.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl with braids

Oct
02

Yellowstone National Park Closure

 

Yellowstone National Park sign

Since the fortunes of our town of Cody and Yellowstone National Park pretty much go hand in hand, the government shutdown affects us profoundly. So many people stop in Cody on their way to or from the park that our hotels, restaurants and attractions depend upon that traffic.

Now that the park – and 400 other NPS units – is closing, we are looking at ways we can help travelers who are already in the region as well as those who have questions about future travel.

First of all, roads inside the park are closed. The Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway between town and the east gate is open through the Wapiti Valley. You can make your way to Pahaska Teepee, the various guest ranches and other stops without any problem.

The same thing applies to the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the road leading to the Silver Gate in the northeast corner of the park. You can drive to Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, but you cannot continue into the park.

If you are traveling to the park right now and were planning on camping or staying in one of the park lodges, you should make alternative plans. Here in Cody we have about 1,600 hotel rooms/bed & breakfast rooms/guest houses and 350 RV/camp sites that are open.  The hotels and campgrounds are reporting plenty of availability. A complete list of accommodations can be found at http://www.yellowstonecountry.org/plan-your-visit/accommodations/.

Our restaurants are open, and there are many activities available to keep you busy. The weather has been comfortable with warm sunny days and cool nights.

We hope this shutdown ends as soon as possible. Our national parks are truly American treasures that teach people about wildlife, history, geology, plant life and so much more. They are part of our fabric as a nation, and Yellowstone, in particular, is so much a part of our lives here in Park County.

Until next time, I’m lovin’ life here in Cody, WY and hoping the government shutdown ends soon!

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl with braids

Sep
24

Bison…Part 2

 

bison in valley

Last week I told you about how the American bison herd was decimated in the 1800s and brought to the edge of extinction. I love researching this and sharing it with you. We went from some 30 million bison down to a small number right down the highway in Yellowstone National Park.

In the early 1900s many people – especially hunters and other sportsmen – were alarmed at the rate that various species were being hunted to extinction. Many of the animals were not hunted for their meat or hides. Instead, they were killed purely for sport with stories of eastern dudes shooting rifles from train platforms and leaving the carcasses behind to rot.

Because so many American Indian tribes relied on the bison, killing large numbers was also viewed as a way to get the tribes under control and forced onto the reservations.

In 1907 – 10 years before the National Park Service even existed – some 28 head of bison in the park were relocated from the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park to the Lamar Valley. A ranch was created, and semi-domesticated bison from other parts of the country were brought in to supplement the herd. While there were some differences in the DNA of the two groups, they were still bred successfully at the “Buffalo Ranch.”

Historians say bison were ranched for close to 50 years in Lamar Valley until the fences were removed and the animals were allowed to roam freely. Today approximately 4,600 bison exist in Yellowstone National Park and are a constant reminder of a true conservation success story.

The ranch is now home to a ranger station and the field campus of the Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI). If you ever get a chance, I recommend participating in a seminar with YAI.

Today there are many bison ranches in the West, and the meat is served in restaurants all over. Ted Turner even has a chain of restaurants specializing in bison meat. I notice that many Cody restaurants serve bison and its lean meat is very popular with some my friends.

I always get a kick out of something that initially seems like a contradiction but makes sense when you think about it. Namely, the more popular bison is as a food, the better it is for the species as a whole. In other words, the more bison that are raised and slaughtered for food the harder ranchers work to raise more of them and keep their herds healthy.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and good bison burgers — in Cody, Wyo.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl with braids

Sep
17

Bison…Part 1

 

Around here the legacy of our town’s founder, William F. Cody, known as “Buffalo Bill”, is easily found.

Interested in history, art, firearms, the surrounding regions or our native peoples? Spend a day or three at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Want to go camping or boating? Head west to Buffalo Bill State Park.

On your way, stop and check out the Buffalo Bill Dam.

Technically, William F. Cody could have easily been nicknamed “Bison Bill Cody.”

                                                    bison

The term “buffalo” as it applies to our North American species is actually a misnomer. Early settlers here called them buffalo because they reminded them of the African buffalo. The species are not related, and the proper term for our species is “bison.”  The Latin term is actually Bison bison. I guess the biologist who came up with that name liked it a lot.

Bill Cody was hired to hunt and kill bison to help feed railroad workers, and he received his nickname because he was good at it.

The bison was a huge part of the culture and life of the plains Indians in this country with the animal providing food, clothing, housing and much more.

At one time in this country, some 30 million plains bison lived in North America and roamed from as far east as – here it comes – Buffalo, New York to California and from as far south as northern Mexico to southern Canada. Other subspecies lived even farther north to Alaska and northern Canada.

Stories proliferated about herds so large that trains were forced to stop for up to three days until the tracks were finally clear.

Killing bison was popular sport, and people would shoot them from the trains and simply leave their carcasses behind. Others would kill them for their trophy heads or just a small part of the animal.

There were so many bison that people never even thought in terms of extinction. Guess what happened? Bison were killed with such success that by the early part of the 20th century, there were almost no bison left.

Fortunately, although we came way too close we did not hunt the plains bison to extinction. Playing a big part in saving this species was the Yellowstone National Park herd and the Buffalo Ranch in Lamar Valley.

Next week I will tell you about the 4,600 bison in the park, all their names – just kidding – and how they were saved.

Until then, I am lovin’ life in Cody, Wyo.

cartoon cowgirl with braidsCorrie N. Cody

Sep
11

Buffalo Bill Art Show

 

pasture with mountains in backgroundIt doesn’t really surprise me that we have more than our fair share of artists here in Cody. After all, true talent can live most anywhere, and who wouldn’t want to live here? There are certainly plenty of awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, double-take scenes around here that artists, sculptors and photographers never have to go far to find something to paint, sculpt or shoot.

And then there are the folks who have expressed themselves in the areas of leather working or furniture building. I have seen saddles that I am afraid to sit on and armoires in which I would be reluctant to actually use for storing clothes. They are just that spectacular.

If you want to see what I mean stroll around town just about any time or just come to the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale.

This fine art sale focuses on “works relating to the land, people and wildlife of the American West.” The show will be held at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and everybody is welcome to stop by and see the work.

The fun part for me is the Friday night auction where we get to view the art before it goes on sale. I sometimes have trouble getting through the gallery because the people I know far outnumber those I don’t. I told you I love our friendly, small-town atmosphere.

I especially enjoy when a couple of friends that shall remain nameless decide they want the same piece of art. Sometimes you don’t know if these old boys truly want the art or if they are just trying drive up the price and see if they can stop just short of buying.

artists making piece for sale in one hourOn Saturday morning, the “Quick Draw” is held. Painters and sculptors have one hour to create a piece of art. At one time I thought I might have a future as an artist, but I am humbled every time I see what these people can accomplish so quickly. It would take me about a week and a half to get anywhere close to the amount of canvas they cover, and even then their art would be world’s above my chicken scratches.

The dates for this year’s show are Sept. 20 and 21. If you cannot make it, you can still bid on art by phone. Go to this web site for more information: http://www.buffalobillartshow.com/content/sale/absentee_bidding.htm.

While the art show is easy for someone like me whose biggest challenge is finding the right outfit to go with the accessories my admirers shower upon me throughout the year, it is the result of a lot of work by the staffs at the BBCW and the Cody Chamber of Commerce as well as a volunteer committee. With all of that spirited bidding and chatting up old friends, I don’t always get to say how much so many of us appreciate the behind-the-scenes efforts that group makes.

I hope I get that opportunity to say thank you this year.

Hope to see you at the Buffalo Bill Art Show.

Until then, I am lovin’ my well-accessorized life in Cody, Wyo.

                                                                           Corrie N. Cody          

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